Category: Others (page 1 of 2)

What my 4 Years myBurgerLab Degree Taught Me – Part III

Part_III
A reader pointed out to me that I did not cover in Part II about what I mentioned in Part I, which is how having co-founders would affect the culture if it’s not aligned or managed properly.

It all starts with the mindset of individuals on how things should be done. In our case, we know that food quality and service are always important, hence the underlying foundation of everything we do revolves around that. We only ship out new product if the product is good, and the pace of our growth is much reliant on how we can maintain our quality and service.

Once the fundamental culture is establish (which is the easy part), then there are the multiple small cultures like the magnitude of hunger for sales, the pace of execution of ideas, the frequency of relationship building and networking which could dictate how the rest of the team perform. That’s culture, and it is always a progressive process to align, breakdown and realign again to move forward.

Every stage of growth will require a level up of experience, mindset and alignment, and it is through challenging times that we will experience it. We just have to step back sometimes and see it from a third party point of view on how the company is doing and then move on from there (with no emotions attached).

*** Back to Part III ***

I meet a lot of entrepreneurs who always say follow they wanna do this because they are passionate about this and that. A classic example is people who open cafes always start from claiming that they are passionate about coffee. Few years down the road, they wanna sell of their business. I’m like what?!! Or some of them close down?

So is passion really all enough to really venture into the business? Or is that the words we tell people and ourselves because that’s just what the norm of the answer is.

To me, pure passion is overrated, because when you understand how important it is to build a sustainability business is to keep the passion burning, then you will not say you will just do it solely for passion.

Sadly, that’s how the world works, and we just have to learn how to play around the rules of the game. When we accept that sustainability is required through proper planning and the hunger to sell, then we will become responsible towards everything and everyone, rather than brushing it off saying it’s not important and claiming that it’s just the passion.

Part III is about the tough times that we went through because of the failure of planning and not having a more aggressive approach in selling.

5. Planning

“If you fail to plan, then be prepared to plan to fail”

These words has never been so true until we faced our toughest time. I learnt this when I was still studying in university, after I left university, and yet I never felt the magnitude of importance when come to planning until the shit hits the fan.

Being complacent with life back then when I was 23, 24 when we were raking money so easily with people lining up the door has blinded me to plan for the future. Things changed so fast in today’s world that you have to keep your eye on to the ball. Momentum breeds on momentum.

And this mainly comes from the mindset of mine of fearing to plan because at the end I may just set a goal which is too big to achieve or I will just self sabotage the goal. When I learn more about myself, and understanding how my mind and fear work, that’s when things started to change.

Blaming on external factors is always an easy way out, the reality is that that we lack strategy.

That’s a fact that if you want to start a business, you just have to own up to it.

So what actually happen back in the days? Why a business had all media talking with 600 burgers a day ran into such tough challenges? It just seems ok from the outside but just similar to any businesses from the outside, what you see from the outside and what you know in the reality is really different.

Chung Lynn from Nando’s told me before that running 1 store and 2 stores will be very different, and from 2 to 4 stores will be even more different. We know to a certain extent that it will be different, but we didn’t know how different the fundamental of the business will be once you expand.

We opened our centralised kitchen in Q1 2013, to cope with production of our Seapark outlet (which was doing 600 for a night shift), before opening our OUG location in Q3 in the same year. Things were still doing pretty decently well, till we closed SeaPark for renovation of downstairs and upstairs while we launched OUG.

When both stores were opened we were doing more burgers collectively but averagely burgers in both store dropped. It was great that our central kitchen was opened so that we can produce more, but it was over the couple of months after that collectively the percentage of incremental volume from opening an additional store was not 100%.

So in pure math terms, if we are doing 600 a day, we should be doing 1200 of both stores, but in reality things just didn’t go that way. We did not account for the drop in volume collectively when we did our budgeting and because of that, incremental of revenues were not incremental of cost to support both.

We had a heavy top headcount, which meant that we had too many full timers being hired in the office, but not enough traction to utilise such big team.

In short, we were below capacity of what we could have accommodated and revenue were just not coming large enough collectively to cover our cost. So on some months we make money, on some months we lose money.

We lack strategy to boost sales in both stores, but more importantly our fundamentals of an F&B business is not ideal. You see, when we run with one outlet and our production is being run in the same location, our cost is being maximised across all verticals. And we can always have the option to close once a week, as we are neither top heavy nor have heavy commitments of full time wages. But as we expand, cost goes up but our revenue may not go up by the similar percentages.

If we were to turn back time, we would have to craft out a solid strategy on how to open up 3 additional stores and its timeline before opening our centralised kitchen. If we didn’t then it would be better to just stuck with one outlet. What’s more challenging is that our store managers work 5 days a week, instead of the norm of 6 days a week, and our store only opens 6 days a week.

As you scale for F&B, a lot of things which you would have done for one store would unfortunately have to change, as it’s just business fundamentals. Adapt or die. Which is why when people say opening more chains is better, I beg to differ. Better is always relative, it’s the bottom line that counts. It took us 3 years to finally open 7 days a week and that moved itself just changed everything. Imagine if one day’s sale is 3,000 on the low end per store, 4 stores would mean 12,000. And one month it would mean extra 36,000 of sale by just opening one store across the board. That every bit helped even though the margins may not be as high.

On the down side, the price we got to pay is lesser bonding time which usually we use our Mondays for, but at this stage, it was going down entirely so partial sacrifice, with the first Monday of the month being our geek outing day. And I’m glad we chose the latter.

And that was why we know we just needed to fill up capacity for all the staff hired for production and management, which makes the 3rd and 4th location necessary. There were moments when we were lost on how to go and fund raise for our third location and in the end we just resort to take private loans (not from banks) to give it one last push. That’s when we open our third location at Bandar Sunway end 2014 and then Cyberjaya right after in May 2015. At the end of the day, it’s unfortunately a business that thrive on volume, similarly like airlines. It’s a volume game. If we want to scale, we got to be ready to pay the price.

It was through this downturn, that I learnt the importance of planning. It’s better to have a plan than not to have one, at least you have a direction, instead of moving fast without a direction.

There’s always a question on but where do we start? How do I know whether what I plan is achievable? What should I be planning for? When we plan, we will never know what will happen, but it all starts from doing 2 things

  1. Setting a goal that you want, try small then go bigger. From daily sales of 1k to 1.3k for example, that’s a small goal, but it’s practicing that goal setting step that is essential.
  2. Break down every strategy into very small steps on how you need to hit the goals

One example now that we practice now is setting sales goal for the year and bonus scheme as well as coming up with a proper budget based on our cost structure. Once we do all these, we will then know what are the sales targets we need to achieve monthly, by store.

Besides, it took me 3 years to see the importance of budgeting, because it’s not something I like doing when I was younger because to me things always change. But budgeting has taught me to use it as a guideline to know what are the sales needed to hit for our own cost structure and not treat it as a tool that may cause rigidity.

The best lesson I learn from my trip to [email protected] (under my other startup Ops Ninja) last year was to start with the end in mind and then reverse engineer from there. It was something so simple, yet so hard to see. If you could draft out your end goal in mind, a lot of things can fall in place really clearly. In this case, if we know how much is the cost gonna be as we scale, then we would know how much revenue we would need to hit in order to be sustainable.

Also, by doing the reverse engineering method you will then be able to plan out for the hiring as well. This would help you to dictate what kind of function to hire and when to hire. Every industry is different and every stage of business is different. From my experience, as mentioned previously is to hire for sales and operations first and then accounts and HR will come much later. But this is different if you are doing big scale cross country fast growth like how K-Fit does, where they would hire heads of multiple functions because their directions were clear. With proper planning, you would also be able to figure out how you can use certain technology tools to automate or simplify processes so that you wouldn’t have to hire so many headcount.

Note for F&B business wannabes – again, sometimes doing an outlet is better than doing more outlets. You will require a very detailed expansion forecasting plan to move from one location to multiple location, because there’s a lot of extra expenses require such as extra management head count.

Make sure do your cost structure properly and then figure out how much money is needed for your expansion and then do what it takes to get there.

If you think getting a franchise will get you rich, think again. If you really want to go and take a franchise, go sit at their outlet and do the math on how many people actually walk through the door, and not believe whatever numbers the franchisor gives you. This is because I have seen so many being affected and they just close down in the end. Or even better, go SSM and print out their annual report, it’s as simple as that.

It’s just perception vs reality when people look out for F&B business to invest in. That is why we are refraining from franchising because the amount of people who can execute a myBurgerLab outlet properly really low and we rather maintain our special experience for our customers. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that success is built over a number of years and not just an overnight thing, so be patient and plan it out 🙂

6. Sell, Sell, Sell

If you want to start a business, you have to start from selling.

If you don’t like to sell, you just can’t do it. Everyone sells. People sell themselves when they apply for a job. Students sell themselves when they apply for scholarships. A mom sells cakes to fund for her family living if she has to.

Everyone can sell, it’s just whether the result meets your target. Good or bad result again is relative, relative to each individual’s goals.

Selling in one location and selling in multiple locations is so different, with different demographics, different consumer behaviour, different city development structure are all factors of how well one can sell achieve the targets.

I personally don’t like sitting back and hope for customers to walk through the door. This is what I know I set my mind to it before we open. I like to be busy. Fortunately for us, when we open on the first day, the customers were just pouring in. When we looked back it was timing of a social media boom period that we capitalised on and also our tasting sessions at the Red Bean Bag.

Selling goes beyond marketing, especially what we all learn in universities with the so called 4 Ps. Those are theory, but in reality it’s much much tougher. Which is why I always encourage whoever who wants to open a F&B to go and work in a F&B place first so you will understand consumer behaviour better.

My friend Han King once shared with me that he goes to supermarket and stand on body and personal care aisle to observe how consumer shop and how they make a decision on which brands to purchase. That really taught me a lot in respecting consumer behaviour as a lot of it starts from understanding the behaviour of all type of consumer groups from the ground level.

Our OUG consumer behave very differently from our SeaPark customers. They come in bigger groups, families mainly and thankfully our location is a bigger location to accommodate such demographic. Otherwise our sales will very much be affected even more.

As you start your business you will learn that there are too factors that affect a customer decision making at different points in time, from long queues, to convenience, to special treatment, to fear of losing out, to peer recommendation, to peer pressure, to many many more. I’m always astonish on different customers make their decision and I learnt a lot of this from cashiering at the counter for almost 2 years.

One big lesson learnt was when we got our first phone number (after 3 freaking years) that people could actually contact us. Previously people just contact us online through social media or email, but when we got our phone number, we realised 3 things. People actually google about us and there were so many more customers we missed out just because a lot of them do not know when we open and where we are exactly located. The last thing we realised was sometimes customers really want to come to eat before we close but because they don’t know if they can make it in time, they decided not to come. But with the phone number, now they can call us to place an order before we close our kitchen so that they can still enjoy our burgers when they arrive.

It was really not funny on how much of opportunities we have missed out. When everyone is trending about social media marketing, for us it was just a simple phone number. Selling is not just about what you sell, or how you sell but also what channels you are selling your products through. Having extra channels means you get to reach out to customers who behave differently.

What made us took it to the next step with a mobile phone channel was the inspiration from startups like BeMalas and Helpr, where we provide convenience to customers who want to “BeMalas” to Whatsapp in their orders at least 1 hour prior (only applicable for non peak time) to preorder their burgers. This helps us to fulfil our downtime capacity. This behaviour is not uncommon as I see my dad always do it back in my hometown where he will call his usual restaurant and order fried rice so that he can just go and collect it after 10 minutes.
(*Note we sometimes do reject orders through Whatsapp if the store is like super busy, so you would still have to walk in).

We even launched our non heavily publicised delivery service through Whatsapp to test out the feasibility of the delivery market and how to go about coping it operationally as the orders scale. The experience has been pretty fruitful.

Many people see our social media as a case study, but we have a lot of sale funnel beneath the surface that we work with because we know social media cannot be the sole bread and butter. This goes similarly to many businesses. We always keep an eye out of how different verticals do their sales channel, be it AirAsia, Tesco, Hilton, Apple, McDonalds, there are many lessons to be learnt from these seasoned guys.

One piece of advice to learn is that selling just doesn’t start with the sales and marketing team, but the operation team are also the sales people. Sales and Marketing converts customers to come, while the operation teams are the one who convert them to be local returning customers. Both functions have to work hand in hand in order to build a kick ass sales team. In our case it’s our geeks, our store managers who walk the talk when it comes to food quality and customer service. Without them, no matter how kick ass our social media marketing is, it wouldn’t work.

All these are just lessons that we learnt throughout our journey. And it all starts with the hunger to sell, if you want to make it, you will do whatever it takes and explore whatever it takes. 🙂

010-3695275 and say hi to our lovely Evan who will handle your request 🙂

P.S. Our 4th year Anniversary is next month and we are fundraising RM 70,000 in total to build a house with Epic Homes. Head on to this event page to find out more details on how you can contribute 🙂

Salted Egg Yolk? There’s Plenty to Go Around la

Salted egg yolks (鹹蛋黃)

Image source: http://thewanderingeater.com/2010/09/17/homemade-mooncakes/

 

So a lot of people (even our part time geek) has been tagging us, messaging us saying that Singapore McDonald has launched the Salted Egg Yolk Burger, following our foot steps. (google Salted Egg Yolk McD Singapore if you havent’ heard)

We are honestly grateful that you guys think that myBurgerLab has the upper hand by launching it first or our idea is copied. But in F&B, there’s no like who’s who first one la. There’s so many restaurants whose Char Siew are so equally good that we don’t really pick on who’s first la. Even black charcoal buns can be found in many places anyways.

Salted Egg Yolk trend started way before us anyways, with Le Bread Days (from Malaysia) doing the much talk about Salted Egg Yolk Croissant.

Go ahead and enjoy their burgers, I’m sure they are good. Every product has its market.

We are different concepts anyways.

There’s just a lot of recipe to go around honestly. You can’t patent recipe unless it’s a process recipe like instant powder mix, or coke formula etc. That’s the fact of life and if everyone goes around patent this stuff, then there will be a restaurant that will only serve carbonara. How boring that can be 🙂

And yes, our Salted Egg Burger is still on the menu. Maybe bring one down from SG and we would swap one of ours with yours. At least share some goodness with us as well!

Peace out!

5 Takeaways from my Mt. Rinjani Climb

 

 

16 days in Indonesia has inspired me to write again. It’s something which I miss doing for a long time. Being away from the city made me reflected on my life.

2 attempts to climb Rinjani definitely hit a core in my soul, with me questioning why the failed first attempt that lead it to the second attempt.

It’s not just a mountain climbing thingy, it’s about how life is handled in the process of climbing the mountain and here’s my 5 key takeaways.

1. No goal is ever too big if we actually focus on the steps.

It was 2.30am.

It was cold and windy. After zipping up my jacket, off we went.

2 hours after the depature from the basecamp, the summit could be seen. My legs were starting to feel the sore in my calves and thighs. It just seem possible and but yet every 3 steps I took, I felt like i have fallen back one step because of the fine volcanic sand and rocks. There’s no proper steps made for this hike, and yet reaching the summit seems possible.

One hour passed and I started to question myself whether it is even possible – I know I moved higher, yet the summit still seem distant away. The redness of the cloud is starting to show on my left and my body is starting to feel the pain.

Every 10 steps I took, then I look up towards the summit again, wondering how long more I had to walk to reach it. The constant lookup was so brain drain as the summit which should already be closer still be seen as very far away. After a struggle of 4 hours since I left the basecamp, I gave up, found a big rock to hide from the wind and lay there till my friends got down.

After the entire 3D2N hike from the 1st attempt, my friend Teng then shared the strategy of him walking 5 steps and take few seconds to catch a breather, and that was when I knew, it was possible to reach the summit if I do it again. Because I was focusing on the goal too much which affected me mentally. Instead, I should kept a strong focus on the steps and the goal will eventually happen.

And that is similar to life, we all know where we wanna go, but sometimes we question how should we go and what should we do. Goal can only be reached if we start taking steps, even if it’s the wrong step, because remember every 3 steps that we take, we may just fall back 1 step.

If we focus on the goal too much and when we are far from the goal, we will then question if the goal is actually too big, hence we compromise and reduce our goals.

However, if we focus on the steps, irregardless of how many steps it takes and just continuing taking the steps, we will eventually get there.

My coach once told me, there’s no unreasonable dreams, only unreasonable timeline. Hence, all we have to do is to take the steps, and continue taking them. Know our goal but don’t look at it took often. We just have to focus on the steps and trust that we will eventually get there.

2. Self Sabotaging

Half way through my climb from the basecamp, I was really sleepy. Every 2 steps I took, I closed my eyes for 2 seconds – almost similar to sleep hiking. I was really tired because I didn’t sleep much for several days before my trip – averagely about 4 hours a night, as I was rushing to finish off my work.

Self sabotaging for some people is what they do best, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously and I’m one of them. Knowing that I was signing up for a suicide mission, yet I didn’t prep myself better to get my work done way earlier to get enough rest.

And with that, I had to pay the price of attempting it a second time, with extra money and time and that same goes with life. When we self sabotage ourselves, the price we have to pay could be a lot. And Rinjani has taught me a painful lesson.

Taking a step back to recognise the pattern of self sabotaging will really help us to propel further in achieving what we wanna do.

3. Failure

Then again, if it’s not for the failed 1st attempt, I wouldn’t be able to write this article, as every failure, it’s a feedback for us to be better.

Failure is always just a feedback on how much we are we deviating from our own goal. It doesn’t mean that we can’t.

Once we go through failure, it just means success is closer, cause we now know how tough it is. It builds our body, mind and soul to adapt to the toughness.

When I was in the car to the harbour after my first attempted hike, my mind was questioning whether it is actually possible if I were to attempt it again. When I think about the mistakes I made, and what other strategies or solutions I need (a walking stick and just focusing on the steps in this case), that is when I know it is possible to get back on track and achieve it.

That was when I knew I have to do it again. And when the intention is clear to do something, we will do whatever it takes to achieve it. With that, I bought a new plane ticket to extend my stay and signed up for a 2D1N climb before I head back home.

I just know that I want to give it a shot again. In my 2nd attempt, it was so much easier mentally and physically as compared to the first attempt as my mind and body as grew to adapt what was coming.

That is what I would encourage everyone in just taking a step to do what they need to do to achieve their goal. Because once we gone through something for the second time, everything just becomes much easier and that is why getting back on track to try it again is crucial.

4. The people and the environment around us can be a strong conditioning factor.

Hang out with fast pace hikers will condition yourself to be fast pace. The people we have on our side will condition how we think and react and that is why there’s so many articles saying that we should surround ourselves with positive people and that’s true.

Want a bigger impact? Take the environment around you as a conditioning factor. The porters at Rinjani are humans out of this world that I have high respect for. Carrying weights of at least 40kg on a bamboo shoot with/without sandals and could go triple the speed of us is so commendable.

I just can’t help but ponder how growing up in such community and environment has made them my superhero. This means that it is possible for us to always to learn new things or to achieve a high standard. If we want to wake up at 6am daily to kickstart our day, then surround ourselves with people who wakes up at 6am daily.

We just have to either be in such environment or create one for ourselves to achieve such goals.

5. Taking control of my life to move on.

Reaching the peak made me realised that I still have it in me to take control of my life to chart out what I wanna do and achieve in my life.

It was almost a year’s of struggle moving on after knowing that I was cheated in my previous relationship. Some people say that it should be something that’s easily to move on because it’s not about you, but the struggle is really tough when the question “Why” surfaces and self-doubt is the only answer that I could came up with.

What I have learnt since then is a lot of us have a dogma that humans are are creatures of monogamy and have to be loyal. Our attachment to what a relationship suppose to be is the one that brings along this suffering.

The event is a neutral one, but the feelings associated with the event is what affects us.

It was a constant battle of me controlling my life versus letting the event to control me for the past months. After the climb it felt good again to know I can take control of my life, my mind once again and it all starts with forgiveness.

My empathy goes out to those who went through the same. It’s not as easy as what they show in the movies, but it’s something that we would have to go through to make us stronger and make us appreciate what life has turned out to be.

The One Thing If You Want to Start Your Own Thing

Happy New Year Guys. Here’s to a great 2015, with lots of challenges and excitement ahead of us.

Startups culture are most likely gonna take Malaysia by storm this year with so many initiatives and community building coming up. And often times, there are many knowledge sharing about how to start something the lean way, test ideas, validation. Though those are just techniques and methodologies, there’s one element that is very consistent among all the successful business people which I met.

Previously I was doing my own study to see what kind of people were made leaders or are on the road to successful entrepreneur. I was wondering whether would an extrovert be a better leader than an introvert, cause leadership is always branded with good with people anyways. Or are they more of the outgoing person or the more educate ones?

After meeting people from various background who are successful across multiple age groups, I realized 2 things.

  1. Introvert can be a successful business person.
  2. The one common trait among all business people who wants to do business for the long run is “I say what I mean, and I do what I say” period. It’s essentially keeping the promise to people.
    And this is really true from my experience of dealing with contractors and suppliers mainly.
    It is down right frustrating if someone can say what they mean and do what they say. That promise is to built a long lasting trusting relationship. And once the trust is built, switching becomes secondary.

Trust is built by keeping the promise on timeline delivery, product quality and keeping clients updated on progress. Perhaps we are delve into the culture of short run promises and getting away with that by taking shortcuts. But if you are here to stay for 10 years in doing any business, just do this – keeping your promise.

And this starts by being on time guys! Don’t sell out on yourself

Have a good start guys!

p.s thanks for the shares on the FnB article, was quite unexpected.

Change – Part of the Hard Things

The part of hard things in a company is change. Change is always bound to happen, over time, as time control lots of things. Time imposes relativity with prompts for comparison which leads to the general term of “change” – as there is always a comparison between time.

2 and a half years of venturing out into the so called business world, one thing which I have learnt – is to be ok to attach an emotion to an event but not to allow the emotion to lead the way. Change has been inevitable only if we want to stay relevant, and not because it’s a must sometimes. I have learnt how to dealt with it, though the emotional part of things make me human, but sometimes change would have to exist for the better of the most.

Change has always been and will be a choice, whether the intention to stay relevant exist.

Then there are those who would embrace change together, cause maybe they allow themselves to see the potential of growing, which can only exist with change.

Then there are those who feel indifferent, which whatever is typed here has no meaning anyway.

Then there are those who are against change, maybe because of a strong emotion which has been attached to it which enables them to feel secure, feel alive. Or maybe it’s because the in existent of intention to stay relevant.

Different things are required at different stages of things to work. Just like how your car service milestone changes according to the milestone driven and the intensity of usage. At the end of the day, is knowing what could seem to work for the  greater, cause we will never know if it works for all (which only exist in our wanting to be right perception).

So what’s your experience in change? Whether in business, personal growth or in relationship. The 3 common classification of events happening in our lives.

What a Life Saving Moment Taught Me

hospital

Speaking about “things happen for a reason” and “there are no accidents”. Last night, when I was just driving back from the OUG Lab, a friend replied my text asking for help to bring her maid (who had difficulty breathing) to the clinic. Being nearby, I managed to arrived her house in less than 10 minutes, took her maid and her cutie daughter along to a 24 hour clinic.

Funny thing is when I arrive at the clinic, I said “Excuse me, she needs help she can’t breathe, help please!”.
And her reply was “Can I have her IC number and name? I need to register her.”
Thankfully a guy who was at the counter waiting for his medication said “you got to help her first!” before I said anything. Yeah at the back of my head I was stun for a moment by the request to be honest, considering how life threatening the situation could become.

She was attended in the end by the doctor and was being diagnosed with an allergic reaction. The unfortunate part is that he does not have a proper medication to give and advice me to bring her to either UH or Desa Hospital.

The 1st thing that came to my mind is the medical cost. “Which would my friend be alright with?” UH is definitely much cheaper than the private Desa Hospital, then it hit me quickly that her breathe is on the line so obviously the much closer one would be a better choice.

When we arrived at Desa Hospital (fortunately my friend’s housemates were there to assist), she was treated immediately with injection and drips. Relieved but I can’t seem to erase the image of her being through so much of pain when she was in the clinic.

Her eyes were swelling, her fist was clenching to her chest and I was just there staring feeling helpless.

Everything was done at midnight and she was safely discharged to head home. Thankfully she’s alright!

It was the time in the hospital which I reflected on a couple of things in my life and how the world has become.

  1. The pain of feeling helpless 
    I now understand how some next of kin of a patient feel when the patient is going through so much pain and struggle when they are on the hospital bed – cancer, asthma, heart attack. There’s always that hope that we wish we can do something to at least ease their pain, if not to survive another moment. That feeling really sucks.
  2. Picking up some life saving skills
    After going through what happened last night, any knowledge of life saving skills become essentially important now to me. As much as it’s not a skill that is on everyone’s bucket list, it’s good to pick it up because we never know how much of a difference we can make to people at any time. CPR looks like to be the priority on my list now!
  3. Medical cost
    It has been a fact that this is such a big factor for the survival of many. As much as some people want the best for their loved ones, but some had to deal with a lot of debt for medical fee after treatment. For some, they had no choice but to opt for what they can afford and hope for the best. But the question here is”Why and how have medical cost became such a big consideration for one person’s survival? Isn’t the thought of saving each other comes from love first and money second? It’s funny how medical care and education for the well being of people are starting to have a hefty price tag on them and the numbers are continue to grow.If I trace back to various factors, studying medicine has in fact been very expensive by itself, which puts me to the question that “if a person is passionate in treating people and saving lives, affordability will have to come first as a pre-requisite (after results) and not so much of they will still be given a chance even if they can’t afford it.” Don’t you think it’s funny that way that even if we want to study to cure people, there is a barrier to it? How has this affected humanitarian? They are largely in debt that they had to learn how to make big money when they come out. Will then the intention be clear still? There are so much of pressure on them even before they start work.As for the public clinics, landlords play a big factor in providing a reasonable priced care to the community. If rental is hiked up, the pressure will be on the doctor which will be transferred to the patients. See how the cycle works now? See how one action can affect the lives of many?This whole incident made a big realization for me on the whole education and medical care system.

    I have dreamed of building my own university and a hospital is now added on my list on how the business of the hospital can be actually created for the people and still being sustainable.

  4. Saving someone’s life experience
    Words can’t describe how this feels. It’s like a disbelief feeling or a feeling where I felt “what just happened?” Talking about being at the right place at the right time, things just happen. But the joy comes from at the end of the night when she looked at me and said thank you and I just look backed in her eyes and thumbs up to her. It’s good to see you being alive and contributing back to my friend’s daughter’s growth. That was how I felt there and then. Some parents go through that more often than others for their child and it’s such a emotional experience in the short span of time!

Would there be a chance for a turnaround in the world for this? What is the intention at the end of the day for the medical industry? Are movies like “Patch Adams” not possible? Do students learn about elements of love, care, trust & giving in classes that are not found in textbooks? This is not something that one person can do to change, but it could start with one person to embark on the change.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead

13 Geeky Things @myBurgerLab in 2013

I figured it would be fun to recapture few of the geeky moments (hey what being a geek is for if we are not gonna do any geeky stuff 😉 ) that we had at myBurgerLab, for making it an unforgettable 2013.

  1. OUG Lab
    oug_labWe brought our geekiness to OUG,KL this year, with the same opening days and hours. This space is slightly bigger than our old SeaPark branch and it has a different soda dispenser (shhh…). The 2nd geeky BurgerLab is located at 8, Jalan Awan Hijau, Taman OUG, 58200 KL. Opening our doors same time from 5.00pm till 10.15pm (kitchen closes), we hope to see more of you around the neighborhood there.
  2. 1st Year Anniversary with a Gesture
    annualThe Lab turned 1 this year and it was great fun to see many of you came and support not only us but also for a good cause – can food charity drive. It was definitely a great sight to see Malaysians coming together to make a difference to the community.
  3. Battling Out on Burgers
    Yup, it can’t be any geekier than having our own Burger Battle to compete with each other by coming up with various burger recipes. Twice this year that we saw our geeks coming together with passion, dedication and innovation to wow the judges. I got to admit, there’s some pretty crazy combination right there. Feels like we can pull off a myBurgerLab Signature restaurant already. And certainly, we would also like to thank our judges for stuffing themselves with endless burgers.
    Check out our short clips of both battles below.
  4. FMFA & NuffNang
    19 9We had great fun in serving burgers in our 2 big events this year – the awesome FMFA at Sepang and first ever NuffNang Food Fest (#NNFoodFest). Man, being at these 2 events had loads of fun. We had to serve thousand over buns in the span of 2 days (and a guy flying into our booth Superman style at end of Day 1) and it was crazy fun with the headbobbling trance music in the background.
  5. DOTA?
    53Yes another Geek Alert! We had a mini Lan Party for DOTA 2 players at the Lab, with our own team playing against 3 other teams. We are thankful to StashDen and our fans for such a great response. Our geeks definitely have to buck up for the next one apart from just flipping burgers.
  6. Yes, Tofu
    tofuVege lovers would love this, as the Geeky R&D team came up an alternative for you! Yup, you can swap patties of any burgers (check with our geeks to see if it’s recommended of course!) to tofu patty. Limited quantities only though!
  7. Gotten your Paycheck?
    paycheckAn experiment (not launched) to try out good cut of beef for our burgers. It needs more work though, but stay tuned this year. Sorry if this just made your new year resolution to be compromised.
  8. What??! Cheese in Patty?
    cheeseinburgerThis is as Lab Geekiness to another level. Again this was just Testing, and it’s not launched yet. Perhaps you can do one  to your Ramly at home just to test them out for fun.
  9. Geeky Tip Jars
    tipjartipjar2
    Creative flair deserve some admiration. Our geeks had to figure out a way to fish for tips when their bosses were too cheapskate. And this definitely deserve a spot here!
  10. SeaPark just got doubled
    We opened up the 1st floor of SeaPark for extra seating in December. The long awaited MORE SPACE request has been fulfilled. Now there’s very little “I need your seats stare” over your shoulders. We would like to apologise deeply on how long it took us so long to do this but we hope that you and your group of friends can enjoy yourselves better from now on.
  11. And the Birthday Boy/Girl went wild
    cake
    Our “Project C” Geek hit the home run with this miniature 2 inch diameter 100g Black Burger Cake for the December babies (yup it only looks big only in photo). It was launched for free with a 3 day ahead request and we would like to thank all of you who were willing to be our guinea pig. She would like to personally give a shoutout to many of you who ordered it.
  12. Got Increase Price or Not?
    2014, year of increment on everything else except salary. Yup it’s going to be a tough year for everyone. With that, we had to put our geeky minds to test this year after pledging that we would remain our prices next year. Oh and btw, the awesome chicken joint in town is tagging along the bandwagon as well.
  13. Gratitude Box
    gratitude boxWhat a better way to end the year than to say thanks to our geeks for all the contribution they have given to the customers. Emphasizing on customer interaction and instragamable burgers, they have done a fabulous job for making the year 2013 an awesome one.

Learnings in 2013

2013 has been an unforgettable year, especially me going through a personal development journey as well as witnessing a number of amazing changes. It’s indeed been a stretchy year after going through a few crazy shit stuff.

With that, here are 11 learning which I picked up this year.

  1. Stay true to your values
    What separate oneself/a business from the others is sometimes the values that you truly believe in and hold onto. And how strong/willing for a business to stick to the beliefs and values of our business is the ultimate drive for the people in the organisation to see that bigger picture to make things happen. Believe me when I say customers can sense them. It’s definitely going to be tougher for us next year when everything goes up in prices. Staying true to our values of maintaining the prices for our customers will be the ultimate core to drive us to innovate on how we can manage our cost to make that happen.
  2. Know your competitive advantage
    Knowing what you are good at would also help you to accelerate your business and compete with competitors. Every business and every people has their own strengths and that’s what we should focus on instead of our weaknesses. Leverage on the strength of others and grow together. That’s how many long term businesses and successful individual has managed to grow successfully.
  3. Respect Customers
    Customers are king, respect them, treat them right. Nuff said.
  4. Watch your Money
    Probably the biggest learning of this year, especially with the upcoming price hike in 2014. Like they say, keeping money is hard, spending is easy. It takes a lot of foresight to manage what’s coming through as it’s really the bloodline of any business.
  5. Have your People Surprise You
    Trusting and allowing your colleagues to have their space to execute their task will really surprise you. Whether it’s a successful execution or not, that’s not the point. It’s to see them grow at the end of the day and put their development as the main focus ahead of yourself. It’s really amazing again to see all the Geeks at the Lab from operational to management to continue to blossom month after month, some slower than the others, but they will get there eventually.
  6. Watch the Intention
    Probably one of the strongest word learn this year – Intention. Watch your intention and really take notice of it. It might look as “this” at the surface level, but it could be that in a deeper level. Deep stuff, I know! If you are trying to lose weight, this is a good practice for you then. Be aware of every action you make, and you will go far.
  7. Have friends from different age group
    I think having this is a great joy to me to mingle around with people from all ages and to learn from each other. My oldest friend is probably uncle Jimmy, founder of Math Magic, great guy. And being around this young geeks at the Lab does make me feel young again. This is a good way to understand customer behavior of different era as well. 🙂
  8. Always learning
    Be open, continue to learn. Fail fast to learn fast. Read books to learn more, not your ordinary Kotler book, but like Sheryl Sandberg, Howard Schultz and many more.
  9. Stretch to see how far you can go
    Yup, go as far as you can, cause you wouldn’t know where’s the limit. You will be surprise what you are capable of. I always say if you can clean the grease trap in restaurant, you can practically do anything in the kitchen.
  10. You will never be ready
    Always wondered when will you be ready for this or for that? Well you will never be ready, trust me. This is linked to No.9, if you are not stretching yourself, then you will never know when you will be ready. First of all is to take the first step, and to be honest, taking that first step is actually easier than most of you think. Hey, as they say YOLO right? So what the F***, go for it anyway.
  11. Miracles do happen

    Lastly, miracles do happen, ONLY if you try. Lots of crazy stunt we had to pull when we open our 2nd outlet at OUG. Only if we move, then we will see things happening.

Days Left to the 2nd Child

Few more days till the 2nd child is born. This time, it seems to be more hectic than the first born. I guess that’s what family planning is for so that parents can space out the age gaps so that they can catch a breather after raising the child to a certain stage before having another one. Imagine how much of college fund has to be forked out in a large sum in a tight span of time.

Thankfully, the great team in the Lab managed to pull through to get this child together. It’s just amazing to see how the source of creation has its effects – from nothing to something beautiful, despite always having the risk behind everything that is done.

Uncertainties are bound to happen, and possibilities are always open. Faith and believe is sometimes what we need to pull things through and the team has certainly done it, and done it really well. From our store geeks and our kitchen prep crew to the higher management, the togetherness that we have here is just amazing and 3 of us are so proud of everyone of them. I guess we can consider ourselves really lucky to see their growth throughout this journey.

Everyday is definitely a learning journey – to grow things to another level, to take responsibilities of what we do, to take more risk in taking actions, to care for each other even further. Someone mentioned the other day that Google and Facebook always have a internal motto on how they call themselves irrelevant to the world everyday and trying to push themselves further for the users of the internet. Taking that consideration for an F&B to move forward will be another level of challenge.

Taking a leap of faith to the unknown does scares many of us at times. And just surrendering to the process and trust that it will take it course by doing our best is really the best we can do. We will definitely encounter a lot of teething issues with the new born, and just like any other parents, the lack of sleep comes with it. I guess it’s the beautiful journey of the unknown that makes it even more exciting and memorable.

With the second child up next week, the family will grow even bigger. I can’t imagine how this year end party would be like. It would be great to see as many of them back for the celebration.

Kudos to the geeks who made and will make it possible for thousands of people to enjoy burgers on a daily basis (except Mondays). Looking forward to see more new faces next week. It’s going to be another unimaginable stretchy long period of commitment, fun, adrenaline (FCC this is for you), joy, fatigue, satisfaction and rigour.

Are You the Weird One?

99% vs the 1%. That was the stats in the US last year – showing that the top 1% was earning a big chunk of money. Thanks Andy for posting it up last year.

So if you are the 1% out of the 100%, are you the weird one? Does it take you to be weird to be at the top?

Not sure if you agree with it, but is one weird if one have to reject all outings with friends and work on something great be weird. Is one weird when one has to go against the normal thought among the peers? Is one weird when you quit your job (to forego security) to do things that you do not know it will turn out? Is one weird for doing something that is not done by one’s peers?

Sometimes people give you that look when you tell them your thoughts isn’t it? Is weird = being an extraordinary being? Does it really take you to be weird to be successful?

I guess having huge dreams of travelling to Space on Virgin Galactic or taking a 3 months hike in USA is consider a weird funny one. Tell that to people, and they will give you a look. Perhaps they don’t understand the journey on how you plan to get there, but it’s your journey, so work on it. Be weird, be free.

Question is “Are you willing to be the weird one?”

Listen to this every morning before work and you will be great 🙂

Share your thoughts here or tweet me – @weekiatteoh

Older posts

© 2018 Wee Kiat Teoh

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑